Your Spare Room: Designing a Play Area with Plenty of Storage

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 3:38pm

 A spare room in the house takes on multiple identities — the guest room, home office, storage center or play area for kids — and sometimes all at once. If your spare room is doubling as a kid zone, here are several ways to incorporate organization, storage and efficiency into the area without losing its kid-friendly appeal.

What's the Purpose?
Decide what dreams you want your children to pursue in the playroom. Is its main function for developing creativity, expanding education or fulfilling imagination? Obviously the room can and will be used for multiple purposes, but narrowing down the options can help speed up the design process. Once you've decided whether it's all about painting and coloring, reading and studying or dressing up and playing pretend, you'll have a better idea of how to organize the area.

Divide the Room
Consider the floor plan and determine what will go where. Using furniture, half walls or screens as dividers, split the room into zones for studying, playing and storage. For small rooms, scale is key. Use child-size furniture to fit different elements into the room. If the bedroom doubles as a playroom, use a loft-style bed to utilize space. A large rug for kids to play on helps tie the room together while the other pieces can divide it into sections.

Play area by The Shade StoreMake it Multi-Functional
If it's the kids' playroom, chances are you'll be spending a lot of time in there as well. Whether you're busy paying bills on your laptop, reading a book in the corner, helping your children with homework or on the floor playing beside them, make sure the room is multi-functional. Include a sitting area for supervising adults (and for children to sit and read as they get older), as well as a desk or two for homework. Don't forget about the essentials such as lighting, safety and room temperature. Bare windows can provide plenty of light during the day and roller shades from The Shade Store can provide privacy at night.

Rotate Toys
Playrooms can often look like a war zone with toys and books scattered throughout. Instead of unsuccessfully trying to find a place for everything, use this trick: Once a year take inventory of all your children's toys. Throw out, recycle or donate all unused toys and split the keepers into groups. Leave one group out and pack away the rest. Every three to four months, rotate groups and watch as your children get excited to see and play with their old favorites. Toys will last longer and get more use.

Use Accessible Storage
Shelves and bins should be within easy reach so kids can get toys out and put them away on their own. The wider the shelves, the better because then the top can be used as a seating area. Lining all four walls with shelves will leave an open space in the middle for playing, but still provide ample table top and seating space for other activities. 

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